EGWs6uuBZ3pp-zGuVVdmeLgkJG4 Across the Avenue: Language Building Blocks: The Importance of Opposites #LearningFUN

Language Building Blocks: The Importance of Opposites #LearningFUN

Providing little ones with exposure to a varied vocabulary is important from a young age. Those of you who follow us often know that we discuss basic language concepts frequently because of the important role they play in children's development. Basic concepts are words that kids need to understand in order to participate in daily routines, follow directions, and participate successfully in conversations. Studies have shown a link between the ability of young children to understand and name these concepts and their future academic success. 

Opposites fall under the 'Basic Concepts' umbrella because they allow kids to understand and describe objects and events, help to develop comparing and contrasting skills,  and support listening and reading comprehension. Once kids develop a strong understanding of opposites, it also allows them to expand their vocabulary to include what we call  'shades of meaning'.

How to Target Opposites with Your Child
One of our favorite ways to target opposites is through puzzles because of the easy-to-understand visuals, the obvious separation of the pieces to show differences, and the the tactile opportunities that help kids learn.  One of our top puzzle picks is The Opposites Fun-to-Know® Puzzles by TREND Enterprises, Inc. It includes 24 two-sided opposite pairs, with real-life photos and all of the basic beginner opposites that we were hoping for. We give this set bonus points for how large and durable the thick cardboard pieces are! They've even included position words such as 'in' and 'out' to help children understand spatial concepts. Flip the pieces over and find a word-only option that's great for little readers. They also designed these pieces with self-checking features we look for in children's puzzles, which gives kids the confidence to practice independently and build skills at their own pace.

Puzzles like these provide tons of opportunities to elicit language at whatever level your child is currently at. Whether they are simply imitating the words that you model or practicing full sentence formulation, it's all great practice. Puzzles also build hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills, so you'll be targeting several foundational motor skills as well.

Suggested Activities 
Use your puzzles in a variety of ways in addition to the traditional design! Here are a few quick ideas to help you get creative as you target opposites:

  • Find and Sort: Choose a set of opposites pieces, such as 'little/big'. Place each card on the table as category headings. Go on a hunt throughout the room or the house with your child, looking for items that are little or big. Bring these items back to the table and sort them into two groups under the heading puzzle pieces 'little' and 'big'.
  • Opposites Hunt: Hide puzzle pieces around the room, set a three minute timer, and allow your child to hunt for them before the timer runs out. Once the buzzer goes off, rush back to the table with the pieces and help your child complete the opposites puzzle pieces that they've found. This game can be easily modified to increase or decrease difficulty, based on your child's skill level.
  • Field of 3 Options: Choose 3 opposites puzzle pieces that do not go together. Present each piece one at a time, asking "What does this picture show?" Lay each piece in front of the child as you go. After all three pieces are down, hold up a matching piece to one of the options (for example, the 'hot' piece) and ask the child, "What is the opposite of 'hot'?" Your child will select the opposite of 'hot' from the three choices in front of her. Continue with remaining cards.
  • Match It, Say It: This activity is a lot of fun for little readers and perfect for small groups. Present children with the unmatched, words-only side of puzzle pieces. Set a time for five minutes as kids race to match the opposites. Each time a child has made a match, they read it aloud to gain a point. The child with the most points at the end of the game wins!
  • Opposites Artist: Provide your child with several half-sheets of paper and crayons, colored pencils or markers. Using the words-only side of each puzzle piece, your child will read and complete opposites matches. After a match has been made, allow your child to illustrate their own pictures to depict each opposite, placing the pictures next to each other and the completed puzzle piece below.

We highly recommend this set to parents and teachers alike.  Although it is designed with Pre-school and Kindergarten children in mind, we find that many of the toddlers we work with enjoy it as well!  (A little extra help is sometimes needed to place the pieces together when working with our toddlers.)  Even the sizing of the pieces is perfect for little hands, with each completed two-piece puzzle measuring 5 5/8 inches wide x 2 7/8 inches tall. 

Check out a bit of this video to for a sneak peek of the opposites pieces!

Where to Purchase

Head over to the TREND enterprises, Inc. online shop to order the Opposites Fun-to-Know® Puzzles for yourself and browse the rest of their collection as well. While you're there, be sure to check out their huge collection of free printables, DIY projects, and bulletin board ideas, too!

Connect with TREND enterprises, Inc.

Disclaimer: The products in this post were provided by TREND enterprises, Inc. As always, our posts are our own, honest opinions.